Benoit Gautier "Argilex" Dry Vouvray ($13.99)
People often assume that Vouvray will be semi-sweet or sweet, but this is not always the case. This is Vouvray Sec, which means that it is dry. The residual sugar is at about .4%, which isn't the driest of white wines, but isn't close to off-dry (1% RS). What you do get is a lot of juicy fruit in this wine: pear, apple, and quince. The acidity keeps the wine bright on the palate. This pairs well with seafood, especially oysters and sushi. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif.
100% Chenin Blanc
Joseph Burrier Mâcon-Fuissé ($16.99)
From the producer:
"Located in the south of Burgundy,the large Mâcon Blanc Villages Appellation covers more than 300 acres on 41 villages. The village of Fuissé counts more
than 20 ha of Mâcon Villages that can claim the rare appellation of
Mâcon Fuissé. Fuissé is more known for its Pouilly Fuissé production. Joseph Burrier vinifies about 1,5 ha of Mâcon Fuissé grapes coming from the cirque
heights surrounding the village. Here, the altitude situation (350m) of the rocky, clayey and calcareous soils, demand to be patient before harvesting. These ‘Terroirs’ give mineral wines with a lot of character.
Average annual production: 10 000 bottles.
The Mâcon Fuissé evokes the white flowers and fruits. The wine is rich, structured and well balanced in the mouth with a citrus finish. The best moment to drink this wine is within 3 years after bottling."
It is unusual to see a Mâcon-Fuissé, so this wine is novel for that reason, but what is really special about it is the quality for the price. This is 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy, rich on the palate with nice oak and just enough acidity to give it structure. The farming practices are organic, and the winemaking is low-intervention. To get all of those attributes in a wine under $20 is rare, so this is a real find. For those of you who love a California Chard with oak, I urge you to try this instead.
La Griveliere Côtes du Rhône ($8.99)
From the importer:
"Côtes du Rhône is overpopulated with Thrush birds, or Grive in French, that
devour the grapes in the vineyards when ripe.
Tasting Notes: Well-balanced with aromas of red fruits and spices and subtle hints of vanilla and earth. Rich, full-bodied and round in the mouth. The finish is long with mild tannins. Perfectly suited for everyday meals like simple grilled white and red meats or non-complicated pasta dishes.
Aging: 6 months in a combination of cement tanks & large oak casks, followed by 18 months in bottle
80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre"
This is easily one of the best values in the store, and an excellent choice if you are just starting out with French wines, or if you want and everyday table wine. It is a solid entry-level Côtes du Rhône that drinks above its price, and it's a nice red wine for all seasons.